Every year for the past ten years or so when the new year rolls around I always write the major events of the previous year and new goals and prayers for the new year. I write them in the same journal every year so I can look back on them and see how I progressed or didn't progress. It has been very entertaining to look back at the beginning when I started doing this. It is interesting to see that what was important to me in 2009 is not as important to me in 2019. It is also interesting to see how much my life has changed and how much God has orchestrated so much throughout the years! It really is an eye opener. So I challenge you to go get a journal and begin this year doing this!
In the past, I have usually just written a list of things I want to complete in bullet point form, one list with a spiritual focus and one list with more of a lifestyle focus. This year, however I really felt to set my goals using a word(s) for the year. I really didn't want to do the word of the year because everyone else was doing it, but I could not get two words out of my head when I kept thinking about my goals. These two words seemed to encompass everything that I am feeling and want to accomplish not only this year, but for life. These two words are intentional and content.
There are so many things in my life that I have become lazy in especially, since the baby has arrived. I really want to get many things back on track. The way I know to do this and to accomplish these things is to be intentional in the areas of my life. Areas like prayer time, healthy eating, quality time with family and friends, finances, skincare routine, self care, etc. This year I want a lifestyle change. I do not want these things to end in a few months. I believe that if I keep an intentional lifestyle mindset it will help me continue these things, and hopefully they will not only be a part of this year, but forever. Scriptures I came across that will help me stay intentionally focused are Philippians 2:14-15, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing so you may become blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation." Philippians 2:15-16, "Shine as lights in the world holding fast to the word of life." and Ephesians 4:1-3 "...I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." These scriptures all have intentional living behind them such as living blameless and innocent, shining a light, and keeping the unity of the Spirit. We are here on this earth not to throw away our lives with mindless living, but we have a purpose and a mission. Living with intentionality helps us get a better perspective on our purpose and mission.
My next area that I want to focus on this year is being content. I want to be grateful and thankful for what I have. Philippians 4:11 says, "... I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." The Greek word for content here refers to being satisfied where I am no longer worried or anxious. To be honest, I have really struggled with this in the past year. I feel that many times I compare myself to other people and their lifestyles and what they are able to have or buy. I have a big problem with buying things and it has been left way too long untamed. Because of this, I have struggled with being content with what I have. God has blessed us so much in these past four almost five years of marriage. But we are not at a place where we can afford a big vacation or all the latest trends in house decor and clothes on Pinterest or Instagram. For some reason, I have allowed myself to believe that we could and when I have realized we can't, I get upset. How selfish I feel! But I think many people in our culture struggle with the same issues. So this year I am cleaning out! I only want the things in my home and life that mean the most and that have purpose. I am tired of the clutter and 10,000 shoes and dresses! I have realized you really don't need that many anyway! We have started in the fall and will continue to become debt free using Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace program. In addition to these changes, or improvements as I need to see them, I am also starting the contentment challenge! This was a beautiful idea started by Nancy Ray. The idea is to give up shopping for clothes, accessories, and household decor and other "stuff" for three months so we can refocus our lives on what really matters. The idea is to break our need for material things and learn that the true things that matter are already around us. We don't need to buy things or live a certain lifestyle (beyond Christ) to be happy. I am excited to spend the first few months of the year refocusing on what really matters and learn to be content in the moment with what God has already given me. It is going to be difficult, but I hope to be able to write about my experience and truly say that it helped to change my perspective! Here is the link if you are interested, https://nancyray.com/blog/2018/11/28/contentment-challenge-2019.
In focusing this year on being intentional and content I have really developed a prayer that I want to continue to pray for a long time. Part of the prayer comes from Nancy Ray's blog as she was writing about the contentment challenge for 2019. The prayer goes something like this... God show me real life. To be completely immersed in the Good things and gifts all around me. To be more in tune with relationships and family. That I'll stop comparing my life, my house, my things with other people. But instead rejoice in life and love deeply, being content with what I have and be intentional in everything I do. Amen.